12 03 2018


We have been studying the Book of Job on weekends at The Lighthouse Church. If Job is an example to all of us of anything; he surely is a picture of the fact that life is not fair this side of heaven. The believers in God don’t just only receive sunshine, lollipops and roses. Unbelievers seem to get away with their defiant rebellion against the Lord. We know from scripture that Job didn’t deserve the hammering he received. But we are also given an encouraging insight that even though God allowed it, the Lord never abandoned Job or stopped loving him for one moment! And while the enemy meant it for harm, God turned it to work out for Job’s good. If you make it to the end of the story, you clearly see that in spite of the many trials and tribulations Job endured, it actually ushered him into an even deeper relationship with the Lord.

Despite the immense suffering that Job faced, he never cursed God. Job’s wife was beside herself. Job’s three friends proved to be more harassing than helpful. Since all the horizontal options seemed to be dead ends, the only direction left for Job was to look up. I believe God sometimes allows us into these places of pain and helplessness. When we are there, hurting and unable to change our circumstances, the crutches we always relied on are stripped from us, one by one.  At that point, God’s words and His love stand out to us in a way they never could when we had those crutches to lean on. We begin to see the Lord’s Presence as constant and unchanging, and His love becomes irresistible to us. Jesus becomes our only real alternative. Otherwise, death would be the only logical relief.

This is the place where we find Job in Chapter 3. All the crutches of his life have been stripped away. Death seems to be the only logical relief for his pain. So he cries out for death, cursing the day he was born. He hopes his birthday will be forgotten and wiped out of all memory. It used to be a happy day, a day of celebration. Now he says, in effect, “Let the day I was born be darkened, and let no one rejoice in it. May it be a day of cursing, not blessing.” Though Job speaks of the day of his birth, he is actually expressing his longing for death. While Job comes close to cursing God, he never crosses that line. Instead, Job curses the day of his birth, and he curses what God has allowed to happen.

You can see how the pressure of his pain is increasing, and Job is beginning to break under that pressure. Few things are harder to bear than meaningless suffering. If we could see some reason for what we have to go through, we could more easily endure it. But pointless trouble is corrosive to our souls. That’s what Job experiences at this stage in his life. So he cries out, “Why was I ever born? Why can’t I simply die and be done with it?” The only relief Job sees for his pain is death.

Have you ever cried about your life getting stuck in the pit? In the sport of racing, cars must make a “pit stop” or they have no real chance of winning. Here the car is refueled, refreshed and recharged so it has what it takes to cross the finish line. This side of heaven, we must plan on spending some time in the pit. While it may seem like God has abandoned you here; he is actually very much at work within you. If you trust him and allow him room to do his work his way, you will realize that the pit is not your final destination but just a stop on the road to paradise.

But sometimes the days get so dark, it is hard to see. This is why we need each other to lean and depend upon so that we don’t attempt to live this life as a solo project. In his thirties, James became involved with an organization of abuse survivors. There, he counseled abuse victims, telling them, “Remember, you’re not a victim. You’re a survivor.” James also spoke to law enforcement groups about ways to protect children from sexual predators. Because of these positive fruits from his walk, everyone thought James was doing fine. No one knew that James still had his good days and his bad days, including days when he was horribly depressed.

Early one Sunday morning, when he was not coping well with his bad memories, James went for a walk along the train tracks near his home. He heard the train coming, and he stepped into the middle of the tracks and ended his life. No man is an island to himself. No woman ever gets to the place where she no longer needs daily encouragement. The mistake we Christians make is that much too often we are too preoccupied with our own sense of well-being that we aren’t even in tune to the neighbor that is crying out for help right at the end of our nose. It is too late for James but not too late for somebody else who like Job is miserable but could benefit from a little company.

Jesus ended his life so we no longer would ever have to end our own. Jesus died on the cross so we would not be defeated in our disease. Sin is the cancer attempting to sabotage our souls. Jesus is the cure as our Savior. Only you must make a decision about your destiny Jesus was majestic in His own misery so that he could end our misery for good! Just as I am I go or I come.

We humans are rather blind to what matters most because we are preoccupied with all that is simply passing away. But it is more often than not that smack dab in the middle of the ghastly darkness; we are finally drawn to the godly light. But please be open to looking for the Lord’s shining rescue beam in the most precarious of places and circumstances. Job found his redemption in a trash heap. Jesus gave his life on a cross in much the same place. Perhaps we should focus in the valley to find our faith rather than getting lost in a cold and empty cathedral.

If God is not afraid of the dark, then what are we afraid of?



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